Pregnancy is an exciting time filled with a rollercoaster of emotions and a whirlwind of preparation. Of course, it’s important to look ahead and make plans for when your little bundle of joy finally arrives. However, many forget it’s equally necessary to focus on the journey of pregnancy itself as well. It can be good to have a few go-to healthy recipes for pregnancy, to make eating well that much easier.
Studies have shown that a majority of pregnant women are missing key nutrients from their diets, and that’s cause for concern.
While you’re performing the miracle of growing a human life inside you, it’s crucial that you fuel your body with the proper foods necessary for this amazing task to continue, and for your baby to thrive and grow. In the postpartum stage, too, nutrition plays a very important role.
Although at times it can be difficult, getting the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and, of course, exercise is something that medical experts highly recommend. For good reason. Read on for four super healthy (and simple) recipes for pregnancy and postpartum.
Foods to Avoid
Before we dive into what foods are great for pregnant women and growing babies, we’ll touch on an equally important subject: foods to avoid. Certain foods are best for those who are expecting to steer clear of, for various different reasons.
For example, things such as undercooked or cured meat can pose a risk of toxoplasmosis, which can induce miscarriage. Unpasteurised dairy products, meanwhile, could contain the harmful bacteria listeria, which can have the same effect. Certain types of fish can contain high amounts of mercury or pollutants.
Below is a list of foods that are best avoided for expectant and breastfeeding mothers.
- Rare steak
- Mouldy cheeses
- Cured meats
- Organ meats
- Raw sprouts
It’s worth noting that this list is inexhaustive. It is always best to consult your doctor on what you can and cannot eat and drink while pregnant.
Healthy Recipes for Pregnancy and Postpartum
Most experts agree upon a set list of the most important vitamins and minerals to intake while pregnant. The general consensus is that a pregnant or breastfeeding woman should be getting around 300 extra calories a day in her diet. Making sure to fit in all of these extras is tricky, but certain nutrients are crucial for a healthy mom and baby during pregnancy.
These include things such as folic acid, iron, calcium, Vitamin D, and fibre. These have different functions, from providing extra energy and calories to helping to prevent constipation—a common side effect of pregnancy many moms-to-be will be all too familiar with. Some, such as folic acid, help to promote healthy fetal development and prevent birth defects of the brain and spine.
Below are some tasty, simple, and healthy recipes for pregnant women to try. All are made using easy to source ingredients that you can pick up in your local supermarket. None takes more than 30 minutes to prepare.
Breakfast: Greek Yoghurt Topped With Fresh Fruit and Granola
This recipe is super simple to put together, taking less than five minutes in the morning. It’s the perfect get-up-and-go breakfast when you’re short on time but need fuel for a busy day. Another great thing about this breakfast is that you can mix and match the toppings you choose, so it’s never dull.
One tip is to either make your own batch of granola or make sure to buy one that’s low in sugar or sugar-free. High amounts of sugar should be avoided while pregnant.
You can choose any fruit you like, but something high in fibre might be a good choice. You can find a list of the best high fibre fruits here.
In this recipe, the greek yoghurt provides much-needed calcium and protein, the fruit provides fibre and vitamins, and the granola is a good source of fibre, also. You can also add some nuts and seeds if you like. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are a great source of magnesium, protein, and fibre.
Lunch: Bacon and Asparagus Frittata
A slice of frittata is always a nice light and easy lunch. You can make a tray at the beginning of the week and eat for a few days afterwards. Add in a small side salad with a tasty dressing to up your intake of greens.
This recipe substitutes bacon for ham in this traditional flavour profile. The reason being that ham, along with all packaged meats, should be eaten with care when pregnant.
This option is wonderful because it has an array of important nutrients. The eggs in the frittata contain choline which helps in the development of the baby’s spinal cord. The bacon is a good source of iron. Asparagus is filled with folate, and one cup has almost one-third of your daily iron needs.
Snack: Apple and Peanut Butter
It’s hard to think of a more simple snack than chopped apples topped with peanut butter. But they taste great together, and they’re also fantastic for fuelling expectant mothers in their busy days.
Just make sure to pick a peanut butter with no added sugar, and try not to eat a whole jar in one go. Peanut butter is a great source of extra calories and of protein. Apples, meanwhile, have loads of fibre, but only if you keep the skin on!
Dinner: Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Spinach and Avocado Buddha Bowl
Like the greek yoghurt and granola above, buddha bowls are a nice meal because you can mix and match different ingredients to suit your mood. Just make sure you have a good mix of leafy greens, veggies, healthy fats, and whole grains. This one, in particular, is great because it requires little prep, but it’s jam-packed with nutrients.
The sweet potato is filled with fibre and also contains beta-carotene, which promotes healthy fetal development. Quinoa has lots of protein and fibre. And Spinach is filled with folate.
You can top this all off with whatever (low sugar) sauce or dressing you like and just like that you’ve got a wholesome and delicious pregnancy-friendly meal.
Fuel Your Body in the Right Way
For everyone, but especially pregnant and postpartum women, fuelling the body properly is vitally important. If you’ve enjoyed these healthy recipes for pregnancy, why not take a look at some of the different nutrition and exercise programs we offer.